photos by Jonathan McPhail, words by Andrew Sacher
Hot Water Music at MHOW - 1/24/13
Hot Water Music took their tour with La Dispute and The Menzingers through Brooklyn last night (1/24) for a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, their first headlining date in NYC since the release of 2012's comeback album, Exister. Being that it was a sold out show for a long-running band like Hot Water Music, I was pleasantly surprised that the (much newer) openers got great feedback from the crowd too, with people singing along, moshing, and crowd surfing to all three bands.
About three seconds into The Menzingers' opening set, they had a false start on their first song, "Good Things," but the crowd had already yelled along, "I've been having a horrible time!" before the band realized they were out of tune and had to restart. From that moment on, the crowd anticipation never died and the band looked genuinely happy (and a little surprised) at how many people knew their songs. Their set drew mainly from 2012's On the Impossible Past and 2010's Chamberlain Waits with songs like "Gates," "The Obituaries," "Deep Sleep," and more. They were a perfect fit to open for Hot Water Music, hearkening back in more ways than one to the glory days of pop punk, before the genre was totally wrecked on MTV. The band jumped around on stage, were smiling for most of it, and members who weren't singing were yelling the words at the crowd in a way that was soaked in genuine nostalgia and certainly didn't feel like something you'd see in Brooklyn. But that said, the band said multiple times how happy they were to be back in Brooklyn and dedicated their last song, "I Was Born," to anyone who had ever seen them at 538 Johnson.
They were followed by La Dispute, whose poetic post-hardcore fit in less with the other two bands, but were still totally into it the whole time and so was the crowd. They mainly played songs off of 2011's Wildlife like "A Departure," "Harder Harmonies," and the Radiohead-esque "Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan." It was a solid set throughout, but the crowd really went wild for the stuff off their debut, Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair, like "Said The King To The River," which opened up the floor as all the kids rushed to the stage to scream along. But as with most of their post-Wildlife tours, the highlight of the set came during the closing song, the life-questioning story of "King Park." It's the kind of song that's more powerful to just listen to than try to sing along, but of course the whole front half of the crowd joined in on the song's closing lament, "Can I still get into heaven if i kill myself?"
Then Hot Water Music finally took the stage, kicking right off with "Remedy," and continuing to rip through a great career spanning set. I'd never gotten the chance to see Hot Water Music back in their prime, but last night's show was as genuine and high-spirited as I could have asked for. They don't at all come off like a band cashing in on their success of yesteryear with a reunion, and the urgency with which they played songs off of their comeback album, Exister, is a great signifier of that. The band thrashed around on stage and are still totally in top form (especially the insanely talented bassist, Jason Black). In addition to the newer material, their was no shortage of old favorites either. We were treated to other Caution tracks like "Trusty Chords" and "Wayfarer" and the band dug deeper into their late '90s period for classic cuts like "Freightliner," "Rooftops," and "Manual." Obviously most of the songs are in the 2-3 minute range, but it still felt like their 19-song flew by and I think it's safe to say almost everyone was wanting more.
HWM member Chuck Ragan will return to NYC in March on his Revival Tour, which features a revolving lineup of acoustic musicians.
More pictures from the show (unfortunately none of the openers), some videos, and Hot Water Music's setlist below...
Hot Water Music - "State of Grace" at Music Hall of Williamsburg - 1/24/13
Hot Water Music - "Take No Prisoners" at Music Hall of Williamsburg - 1/24/13
Hot Water Music at Music Hall of Williamsburg - 1/24/13 Setlist
State of Grace
Take No Prisoners
Paid In Full
Our Own Way
Drag My Body
Free Radio Gainesville
A Flight and a Crash
It's Hard to Know